BEIRUT – Eleven children are said to be among the victims of the double suicide attack in the southern suburbs of Damascus on Thursday, say journalists on the ground, who have quoted an anonymous eyewitness.
An update provided halfway through the day by Syrian state television said that 55 people had been killed and 372 injured.
Syria’s Interior Minister said that the double attack was carried out by two suicide bombers traveling in two separate cars.
The Free Syrian Army (FSA), a platform for deserters who were previously regime soldiers, denied any link to the attack and repeated its desire to respect the ceasefire, which has been formally in effect in Syria since April12, at the request of the United Nations.
The chair of the Syrian National Council (SNC), Burhan Ghalioun, has no doubt that the attack was planned by Bashar Al Assad’s regime. “We consider that all explosions in cities against government buildings to be organised by the regime, with the sole aim of justifying the deployment of forces to prevent attacks and, as a result, oppress the population,” Ghalioun said in an interview with ANSA in Tokyo.
Ghalioun also spoke of his forthcoming trip to Italy. “Above all, we want to discuss the result of Kofi Annan’s UN plan, given that we are continuing to see violence against the people,” he said. “We are counting on Rome for humanitarian assistance and aid for the victims affected by the violence,” he continued, adding that Italy has been “clear from the outset, against human rights violations by the regime, and has played a very active role in the Friends of Syria”. Tomorrow, traditionally a day of prayer and protest, anti-government activists have called for the people to rise up against President Assad, accusing him of being behind the double suicide attack. On the Facebook page entitled “Syrian Revolution”, the internet platform that was the first virtual meeting place for activists in March 2011, a call for mass protests could be read today. “Residents of Damascus, rebel, free your city of the murderous regime,” the appeal says. “Those who have destroyed Homs and killed its residents with tanks and shells will not hesitate to destroy Damascus and kill its inhabitants”.